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Saturn Outlook Transmission Problems



  • Just bought my 2008 Outlook XE AWD last week. I am already noticing problems w/ sluggishness and hesitation. I almost got in an accident the other day when trying to merge onto the highway. The person in front of me on the on ramp was going 20mph....and so when I finally got to the highway and tried to accelerate there was a few seconds of hesitation. I was almost rear ended by an 18 wheeler. I did test drive the car on a city road and liked it, but now that I have it home I am noticing the problems. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I was going to call the dealer tomorrow, but it sounds like these dealers aren't fixing the problem.
  • I too have the same problems with my outlooks transmission.I contacted Saturn recently and was told they agree with the dealer,that since the computer codes are OK theres nothing wrong with the tranny.I informed the district manager on the phone of all the forums and other owners having the same problem and he stated he was unaware of any problems.So much for the "Personal Car Co" and we treat our customers like family.I would never buy another Saturn Product
  • Look in your packet of booklets you received w/your Saturn. Find the "Consumer Guide to the State Lemon Law". Read the instructions regarding "Notification of Defect". Read it very carefully and abide by all the requirements. Take your vehicle into the dealership every week to repair the "defect" and it is called a defect under your warranty. After 3 attempts to repair the defect fails to your satisfaction, send a "Notification of Defect" letter to Saturn. Send Registered mail w/return receipt requested. By Law, they have 10 days to respond after they receive the letter at their office. Give them one more chance to fix the defect after their response to your letter. If they still do not repair the defect to your satisfaction, then you send them the "Motor Vehicle Defect Notification" form which is included in the Consumer Guide booklet. Send it registered mail with receipt requested. Call your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and notify them of your actions. Ask them for assistance to arbitrate for either a replacement vehicle or total purchase refund. The BBB's assistance is free. It took approximately 45 days from the BBB's notification to a total purchase refund for my 08' Outlook. Good Luck and don't backdown or take the dealer or saturn's word for anything. Keep the BBB notified of everything.
  • I had the computer module update done on trans on 2/6/09, 2 wks after purchasing car. Still not shifting correctly. I contacted Saturn Customer Service and they contacted the dealer. I was offered an exchange however there are very few Outlooks out there to choose from. Seems that dealers aren't ordering as many b/c of the economic crisis. Anyway, I'm bringing it in tomorrow to give them one more chance to "fix" it..then I'll see about an exchange. Thanks shillelagh for the advice, might have to go that route.
  • mick09mick09 Posts: 1
    Hello, I have an 08 outlook with the same tranny problems, will try your suggestion tormorrow.
  • THERE IS A FIX FOR THE OUTLOOK AND ACADIA SLUGGISH TRANSMISSIONS. The dealers have access to it via a bulletin but are not being encouraged to implement it because it reduces the mileage a couple mpg and if it is factory recommended it conflicts with the advertised EPA mileage rating. However if you insist that they install the fix software they will and they did for us and the car drives perfectly. Love it now. The fix was recommended on this blog some time ago. Tell the dealer to install the software from bulletin #08-07-30-022A to reprogram the transmission control module, The bulletin is dated August 1, 2008 and is document ID 2177083. Don't let the dealer talk you out of it. If you don't like it they can always put the old software back but I know you will like it.
  • richwoodrichwood Posts: 11
    I wish you luck,I've had the same problem with my 2008 since it was new.The dealer kept telling me theres nothing wrong as there's no codes given.I wrote Saturn who assigned someone to look into it and they informed me, no one else was having the problems and they agreed with the dealer.I informed them they should read the forums and they would see there is a problem with the Outllook.I would never buy a GM product again.

    Rich Wood
  • mruffinimruffini Posts: 14
    Just an update. There was a recall for the sun roof on most of the 2007 Saturn Outlooks, something to do with a drainage plug. We took it in to have the recall fixed and about 2 months later, after a rain storm, we backed out of the driveway and could hear water in the dashboard area, moving around. The passenger side, front floor was soaked. We brought it to Saturn and they replaced the same part, claiming that the recall replacement had issues. We had to bring it back a few weeks later to have it ionized because it smelled moldy. It's now back in the shop because the rear sunroof is leaking, this time causing water to drip from the lights over the 3rd row of seats. We are now without the car again as it's being fixed. This is the 3rd time for the same problem, and we were told to expect a call about a buy-back..anyone know how that works?

  • mruffinimruffini Posts: 14
    Well, I heard back from my GM representative. They basically told me that I am out of luck for purchasing a 2007 Saturn Outlook. They refuse to buy the vehicle back. The person I spoke to was rude and would not give me his supervisor's phone number. Their customer service at GM sucks, but then again, I wouldn't expect them to stand behind their vehicles, with all of the financial problems they have. It's too bad that we are bailing them out, they are not worth the investment. The only thing they would offer me was an extended warranty, but I already purchased one for 7 years, 100k miles. I have no faith that my car will *EVER* see 50k before it's in a junk lot. Moral of the story, don't by a GM/Saturn
  • kmanzikmanzi Posts: 7
    I wanted to THANK YOU for posting this message on the boards. For over a year, I have been beating the crap out of my Outlook and have been in some dangerous situations when my car downshifts at 75MPH to pass someone or merging on to another highway and almost being rear ended. The delayed response, hesitation in acceleration and the feeling like I am constantly towing a trailer has now been solved. I had my car in 2 times this past year and Saturn assured me I have the "latest" software. But today I went armed with your bulletin number and document id number. What a difference! I actually think I love the car now.... I couldn't enjoy it before - that issue bothered me too much. Now I feel like I am driving a normal car. Thanks for taking the time to post this for everyone to read. I will try to spread the word so more folks can learn about it! They certainly are not promoting it.... not to mention, it is costing them money to fix this. With GM the way it is today, I highly doubt they would have a recall. I bet they are only fixing it when asked. THanks - I owe it to you!
  • We currently own a 2007 saturn outlook with under 25000 miles. We were driving on the Parkway in NJ and our 2007 saturn outlook began to say "service stabilitrak" on the dashboard and "traction control off". We did not pay much attention to it since it said service...(we thought it would not be something immediate). The car did sound funny but we continued driving. Then it said "engine power down" and it would not allow us to drive faster than 40 mph on the parkway. We drove on the shoulder (SUPER DANGEROUS!!) until we finally got home. The next morning I had to tow the car to the closest dealership which is far away because the closest dealership closed down. They told me it has a timing chain stretch and has to be ordered and then fixed.
    I will not have the car for at least 5 days and have to get a loaner from but have to pay $5 a day (its not about the five dollars its about the principle!) and they said nothing could be done about the $5 because of some gov't homeland security blah blah blah.

    We feel cheated by saturn. We still owe 3 years on the car. What will the next three years be like? We are very unhappy. We bought American for a reason, wrong idea.

    Is there something legal we can do? Saturn cars are as expensive as the competitors, they should stand behind their products.
    Sounds to me like their standing behind their product by taking of the repairs under warranty. Now, I can't understand why their charging you money for a loaner car when your warranty will pay for a rental. I work at a Saturn dealer as a service consultant and we have loaner cars we lend out to customers and we don't charge them for it. What would you say if your car had been a Toyota or Honda and the same thing happened? Would you tell someone not to buy those also? You have to remember it's a car that's was made by man and like all things in this world made by man, it's gonna break down, that's what warranties are for. In your case, that dealer should not charge you for a loaner, should have put you in a rental.
  • mruffinimruffini Posts: 14
    I think the point that "donotbuysaturn" was getting across is that these problems seem a lot more prevalent on the Saturn's and therefore they are not recommending you purchase one. I have a 2007 Saturn that has had two manufacturing defects; one was that the "spider gear" in the transmission was not properly seated and the other was that we had over 7 leaks in the sunroof, stemming from the fact that they didn't properly install it (we had confirmation of this from the local dealer and GM corporate acknowledge this). I will say that the local dealerships do indeed stand by their cars, but I don't think that Saturn/Corporate does. We have had our 2007 Saturn with < 20k miles on it, in the shop for over 1 month total, in just 1.5 years of ownership. Based on that, and based on the crappy response from GM, I would have to NOT recommend purchasing a Saturn either.
  • I think that i should clarify that the loaner was an enterprise rental car that was down the street from the dealership and so I had to pay a $5 a day gov't fee. You might be right that they are fixing it, but I also have a volkswagen jetta with 160,000 miles on it and never had to do anything major like that. I believe that says a lot for a car.
    I tried to be patriotic, I feel like I am paying for something at macy's but should have bought it at walmart. I mean it is a car that costs over $30000. Its not chump change. Should it have a problem like that at under 25000 miles???
    No it shouldn't have that problem, in fact we've never encountered that kinda problem here at our dealership. But hey, it's a car and cars do break down. I have a 06 Sonata and haven't had a problem with it. Also owned a Chevy Malibu and parted ways with it after 58k miles and never had a problem same with Mazda Millenia, Nissan Altima and Maxima. I'm pretty sure you may never run into another problem with your car. Do you know if anyone else has experienced the same issue with their Outlook? Could just be just a fluke that it happened to your car.
  • mruffinimruffini Posts: 14
    Fluke? Have you read any of the other postings or checked out the ratings in consumer reports? (Below average reliability). Saturn/GM vehicles have a poor track record.
    That may be, but are their any relating to a timing chain.
  • mkos1mkos1 Posts: 2
    as i was getting ready to send in my paperwork for my bbb auto line claim, i thought i'd check to see the prices of the 09 outlooks to determine if i wanted to request a replacement vehicle or repurchase for my 2008 outlook, somehow i wound up on this website and was shocked that so many people have been experiencing the same shifting problems i've been... although i've also experienced warning lights for service stabilitrac, service traction control and engine service... it's been in for repairs for these three things five times - the whole time i complained about the shifting but was told that it was the "nature of the beast" and have been living with it... as i am sending out my forms tomorrow can someone who has had success with a repurchase or replacement please advise me... should i include a copy of all the blogs?? what should i include besides what they ask me (which is sales agreement,vehicle reistration and work orders) thank you!
  • myshaktimyshakti Posts: 11

    I was unsuccessful with my BBB claim. Reasons ...since the vehicle was not out of service for more than so many days and I kept driving it with the problem (what was I supposed to do?), that I didn't take it in enough times (only to hear, "There is nothing wrong with the vehicle, it is just how it runs in order to get the gas mileage GM claims it should get.) to fall under the lemon law and had gone over the number of miles allotted for a buy-back. I think I had 18,000 by the time I went before the BBB. It also didn't help that the BBB "judge" when test driving took us on a tour of the Oakland Hills where he used to live and not on roads where the issue is more prevelant. In the midst of this issue I did have a technician who rode with me and then drove my vehicle and said that there was definetly a problem but then was not allowed to talke to me about it anymore or give me documentation. As far as taking copies of this blog. I did do that only to be told that I could of created this information myself and there was no way to verify the "truth" of everyone if it were a real blog. I am now stuck with a vehicle that has dropped so much in worth that I cannot get a good deal on a trade-in or private party sell. I am not sure if you have blue-booked yours and seen the dramatic drop in worth but it is significant. I thought I was doing a good thing by buying a Saturn/GM vehicle but regret my decision to this day. I hope you have better luck.
  • mruffinimruffini Posts: 14
    You could always try to call the corporate office of Saturn and open a case file on the problems.

    Saturn Customer Relations Center (for Saturn owners):

    Depending on the severity of the problems and how persistent you are, they may do something for you. I have to warn you though, it's a very frustrating process. They will open a case, refer it to a "regional manager" who will call you to discuss it. After you tell them you want a re-purchase, they will call the dealer who services the vehicle to confirm the issues, and then they will escalate it to someone else (they won't give a name, title, or phone number for this person--I suspect that they just put the case on hold for 24 hours and then call you back and tell you no). After 24 hours, they call you back and tell you that they will offer you an extended warrantee on the car, but nothing else. We were persistent and got them to cut a check for 1 month's worth of payments (since that is how many working days the car has been in the shop for the same problem). Our problems escalated after 15k miles and over 1 year, so the local lemon laws didn't of luck...
  • myshaktimyshakti Posts: 11

    I am usually persistent but I do not have any more energy to put into this issue. I just hope that others have better luck. My biggest concern is that someday it will shift incorrectly therefore causing an accident and/or harm. I used to have faith in GM/Saturn vehicles. :(


  • mkos1mkos1 Posts: 2
    I just wanted to thank all of you for your advice! I did contact Corporate Saturn initially and they did exactly as you said (extended warranty-we said no, then car payment-we said no). So yes, we are now onto the BBB... I struggled with whether or not to ask for repurchase or replacement. Final decision was to choose repurchase because the brakes are now crunching :( I will let you know what happens.... hopefully I will have the strength to see this through... The car is now at service, working on brakes, A/C and checking to see if they installed that program upgrade for the hesitation problem.....
  • When I am going about 45 to 55 I feel a vibration, does anyone else have this problem?
  • fkarasfkaras Posts: 14
    i have 2009 oulook with 6,200 miles and timing chain is clanking like a garbage can and engine dogs and dives while at 40 MPH cruising ,, GM is replacing today chain or engine today.. nice looking black piece of crap
  • bjagbjag Posts: 2
    2007 front wheel drive Outlook: Whenever it rains the tires have tendency to spin when taking off from a stop. They will also spin when accelerating. I can ease into the gas and the tires will still spin when the ground is wet. Tire tread is fine, 35lbs of pressure in the tires. Is this a traction control issue? Is there anyway to fix it?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    If you feel that it is not a hydroplaning issue and could be traction control, I would suggest taking your vehicle into your dealer of choice to have your concern looked into. Please keep me updated on your progress.
    GM Customer Service
  • I have the same piece of junk car, same year. All I can say is we learn from our mistakes. Never buy another GM vehicle again. My car does the same much so that I have to drive 35-40mph on the highway when it rains, and have practically been involved in numerous accidents. The hydroplaning is terrible. Between the hydroplaning and other cars flying up on me going so slow, I'm lucky I'm still alive. I spent over $800 on new tires, and it made a slight difference, but it will still spin from a stop to go. All I can say is good luck, and hopefully that is the only problem you will have. Just be as safe as you can. Lucky for me, my lease is up in the next 6 months, and I will never, ever look at another GM vehicle again.
  • ppp123ppp123 Posts: 4
    I don't want to drone on and on about how many problems my wife and I have had with the 2007 Saturn Outlook XR FWD that we purchased new. However, based on what I'm seeing on this forum, I feel I need to add to the list. We have had NOTHING but problems since almost day one with our vehicle and the transmission problem we encountered yesterday just adds to the list. After summing all the receipts for the warranty work, about $8,000 worth of work has been done to the vehicle. You name it, it's been worked on: front driver's seat (twice), radio replaced, engine torn apart twice for timing chain repair, keyless entry, power steering, a mold odor coming from the front doors, etc, etc. The service rep we had been dealing with when Saturn still existed said that our issues were legitimate and that we had an unual number of problems. We tried to get our vehicle exchanged for a different one with similar options through Saturn about a 18 months ago, but they would only give us an extended, 2-year, warranty up to 60k miles.

    After the transmission problem that occurred yesterday and after what I'm reading on the web, I think we're in for a new transmission.

    For those interested, my wife was on her way to take my daughter to see Disney on Ice when this problem started. The vehicle would accelerate, however, the front wheels would spin. Once I would get up to about 20 mph or so, the engine would keep revving, but the tranmission would disengage like I put the vehicle in neutral. The only way I could get moving again was to shut the vehicle off, restart and then put back onto drive. I had to do this about 20 or so times to get the vehicle home.

    This sounds like a serious safety problem that GM needs to address. I see a lot of similar vehicles on the road, and I see an accident waiting to happen.

    I think it's time for another vehicle after this repair if GM doesn't do anything for us.

    Fortunately, my wife didn't get on the freeway and a potentially dangerous situation and they were only about 10 minutes late for the show.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I apologize for your experience. Can you please email me with your complete contact information including telephone number and mailing address, VIN, current mileage, as well as involved dealer? I would like to look into this further for you.
    GM Customer Service
  • Ya, Government Motors will contact you and offer you a free oil change for your troubles...freaking joke...looking to trade my 2007 saturn in for anything that is NON GM.
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